Charles Quennell embodied many of the possibilities and contradictions of British architecture in the first decades of the twentieth century. He is a little-known figure today, but one who deserves further consideration, not only for his own remarkably interesting and varied career but also because of the light he sheds on some of the less explored aspects of architecture in the 1895–1935 period. Throughout his life he combined a strong interest in history with a search for efficiency and design appropriate for the modern world. Both of these preoccupations were widespread among his generation although, apart from a few notable exceptions, rarely can they be found combined to as great a degree as in Quennell. For example, in 1914 he was a keen exponent of standardization and at work on large romantic houses in Hampstead Garden Suburb. By 1918 he had designed what have been called the first modern houses in the country and had just published the first of the bestselling books in the series co-authored with his wife, A History of Everyday Things in England. In 1930 he was writing a contemporary tract The Good New Days and he built a neo-Palladian villa. He has been little studied to date, the main accounts being Alastair Service’s of his work in Hampstead, a Masters thesis by Nick Collins focused on issues of building conservation, and Graham Thurgood’s article on his 1920s work in Essex.